By: Andy Newton
When I ask Jeremy Gannan what his weaknesses are it’s not because I’m trying to indoctrinate him into middle management, or see if he’ll answer in a way most people would. It’s not a test. I ask him because he’s overcome them, he’s battled to change his life in a way most people wouldn’t.
So his answer makes complete sense.
“Bullshit,” he says. “I can’t do bullshit.”
In August 2016 Jeremy found CrossFit FiG with a simple Google search. He thought the website was clean and cool. He saw that I was a fellow veteran and found that inviting (Jeremy deployed to Iraq in both 2004 and 2007 as an 89B). His On Ramp class was unspectacular. It doesn’t stand out in my mind. Not many do, but that’s the casualty of repetition. He was quiet, but I knew beneath the demure exterior was someone brooding with intelligent purpose. Jeremy most definitely has a momentum about him.
This wasn’t day one however. He had already taken steps towards bettering himself. At his heaviest he was 394 pounds—a weight that’s hard to imagine he ever walked around at when you see him now at 214—and in a moment of brutal realization found it difficult to tie his shoes. This was the line in the sand for Jeremy. His mother and cousin had both had gastric sleeve surgery, followed regimented diets and began to exercise with some success, but going under the knife wasn’t for him.
“You’ve done the easy part, I told myself.” Gannan says regarding how he got overweight. “Now it’s time to work.”
He made some great decisions early; instead of reengineering his entire diet he simply implemented portion control, focused on limiting heavy carbohydrates and refusing to intake sugar. He joined a traditional gym and went as frequently as his schedule would allow. Monday through Friday he wouldn’t weight himself, but then would Friday and again Sunday. He says, “I’d see ‘This is where you’re doing good: the weekdays. This is where you’re f***ing up: the weekends.’” So he gradually eliminated factors that led to his bad eating habits. He drank less and shied away from convenient food sources.
Now he’s all CrossFit. He’s “drank the Kool-Aid” as they say. He even bought a home closer to the gym.
“You have to stick with it,” he tells me. “There were times I was pissed at the process.”
I ask him if he thinks he’ll CrossFit forever.
“I don’t know,” he starts, “If I can I will. Who knows when I’m 60? If I’m able I will.” As he says this I can see him realize he has a lifetime of challenging WODs left.
I tell him, “I’m going to CrossFit until the day I die. Maybe the day I die, too.”
He laughs his big, boisterous laugh and says “Ok, ok. Me too.” And his eyes scan the floor at Fig. It’s Saturday and the usual productive chaos is afoot. Barbells are clanging, chalk is in the air and the subwoofer is incrementally booming to drown out the collective breathlessness of the athletes.
“I needed CrossFit.” He says. “ I mean I NEEDED it.”
Little does he know we all needed him too.